Greetings from the front lines of chub reduction

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life44 Comments


This was me, yesterday morning, hitting a five-mile workout, surrounded by the pine board walls of my semi-finished basement. Running in place. If I were just two inches taller, this workout would not be possible without the running the risk of possible concussions. That ceiling is low, my friends.

It's been a while since I've posted on the whole Move More, Eat Well gig from Zielske Central. But those of you who follow me on Twitter already know (and possibly are annoyed by) that even when I'm not writing about it here, I'm still down here in the basement, getting my move on.

And how's it all going so far?

How about if I say pretty well?

It's an interesting place, where I'm at right now. Back when I started documenting this process it seemed a lot more exciting in that you could actually see the effects of what I was doing. In fact, I have an entire year in one post (click here) and to me, it's a pretty motivating thing to see that belly slowly and steadily shrinking.

But what was more exciting to me in some ways, though I didn't really connect to it at the time because I was so fixated on losing weight, was that I was becoming a different person mentally as well; one who actually felt more than a just physical kick from exercising. I was teetering on on the brink of becoming an athlete of sorts.

But all of 2011 felt like even steven. Like maintenance mode. I really never lost any weight last year. From an all-time low of 141 in October of 2010, I inched my way back up to the mid-150s and haven't really looked back. But the Moving More part remained a strong and steady and part of my almost everyday life.

I'm at a place now where I am trying to figure out if this is as good as it gets. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that from a negative place. But I am wondering if those thoughts of fitting back into those size 8 Lucky Brand Jeans need to be shaken out of this head of mine.

I am wondering if I can simply say, "Okay, I'm good."

It's a funny thing, positive self image is. Some days you might have it in abundance. Other days, you couldn't find it if it was standing directly in front of you shouting at the top its lungs, "LOOK AT ME!"

But it's definitely all tied into the process.

Here's the other part of the puzzle: it's never not going to take an effort. I am really starting to get this. Heading out to the gym for a swim, or hitting the treadmill, or doing a Jillian Michael's DVD is never going to be effortless. I think part of me really hoped at some point that I either a) wouldn't have to focus so much on all of this, or b) would become magically in shape for all time.

It takes work.

Sometimes though, it does help if you have a new gadget. I decided to pick up a high tech pedometer in the form of a FitBit. It's a pretty nifty (albeit pricey) device that tracks your movement, and syncs with an entire website devoted to health, fitness and the like. Plus, it says hello to me.


You can learn more about this nifty little guy by clicking here. I even accidentally washed it last week and lo and behold, it still works. God knows I'm a sucker for tech gadgets.

Otherwise, yep, it's going pretty well. I Move More regularly and I try most days to Eat Well. I still soak in all the info I can get my hands on as it related to health and nutrition. I remain a student of the process and I am still seeing the benefits in my life every day.

I'm stronger, calmer and more focused. Sure, sometimes I limp up the stairs after a workout, but whose to say I wouldn't be doing that anyway?

I guess at the end of the day I know that I'm never going to have a tiny little butt, but I sure as heck am trying to make its generous circumference just a bit more stable. I dream of the day you can bounce a quarter off of it.

What about you out there? Is 2012 being good to you on the health and fitness front? Are you being good to you?


JOIN IN: People are still signing up for my Move More, Eat Well workshop. We're a community now over 1,550 strong, of women (and men) trying to make changes. Tomorrow at 9 a.m. Pacific Time, I'm hosting my first quarter video chat with the students of Move More, Eat Well. Feel free to sign up and join in.



If you're interested in making changes to your overall health and fitness, Move More, Eat Well is a 12-month online workshop at Big Picture Classes. The focus of this class is to embark on a personal journey that works with your unique lifestyle in helping you to find ways to make the changes you'd like to see on a fitness and health level. Registration is open all year and you can jump in anytime to join the more than 1,550 women and men who've made the decision to try to make changes in their own lives. Move More, Eat Well revolves around a robust community of users who are all creating a scrapbook/journal of their progress. To learn more, click here.

Cathy ZielskeGreetings from the front lines of chub reduction

44 Comments on “Greetings from the front lines of chub reduction”

  1. #1
    Crystal Cook

    I really love your blog. It’s been a while since I commented, but your perspective of exercise and healthy eating is just so. . . real. I mean, I feel exactly the way you do most days when I wake up to go to the gym. I used to be the chubby kid who would do anything to get out of running the mile at school and now when I don’t get to run some days I feel like I’m going to go crazy.

    Anyways, just wanted to tell you how much I love how you really share what it’s like for you. 🙂

  2. #2
    Tammy Eberhard

    Greetings to you too Cathy! Congrats on the hard work and great results! Keep up the good work. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  3. #3

    I see all of your Twitter updates with the miles ran, etc. and I am truly impressed. I actually was thinking of emailing you, because I am at an impasse myself. I want and need to lose 34 pounds. I rejoined WW on 1/1/12 (no surprise with the date :-)) and so far I have lost a grand total of 6 pounds. I’m gaining and losing the same pounds. I also bought a Fitbit in December, and I use it and track calories with My Fitness Pal that syncs with it. I was so good last week, but still gained .5….. Anyways, I’m toying with the idea of dropping my WW online subscription and just tracking calories and adding in exercise (‘cuz I’m a sloth – that’s how my Fitbit greets me…”Hi Sloth”). I’ve also been eating a pescatarian diet (vegetarian who eats fish) for years, and I’m wondering if I’m offbase with that one too. Basically, I’ve lost 26 pounds on WW in the past on 2 previous plans ago. Any advice?? Sorry so whiny.

  4. #4

    My intentions were good, but the first two months of 2012 have not been the whirlwind of weight loss I had planned. I’ve realized that I’m only succeeding with half the declaration of MMEW. I have the MM down. And I had convinced myself that I am eating well because I do focus on whole foods and balancing proteins and carbs in a healthful way. The problem is that I eat too much to lose weight.

    So, I have grudgingly started counting calories (thanks for the Lose It app tip!) and am continuing to move. I used to keep a food journal many years ago to lose weight and it worked beautifully. Not sure why I’ve been so resistant to tracking calories, but Duh, it has to be done to reach my goal. It must be part of the mental game that plays into this journey.

    Glad I have ten more months to find my fitness/weight loss groove. Thanks Cathy!

  5. #5

    This is great Cathy, I’m happy that your happy!! I’m hoping to head back to the track soon now that the weather is getting nicer out.

    Love love the pictures, who wouldn’t want that cute gadget that says hello to you.

  6. #7

    Ha! I could have written this post, right down to the all time low weight (141) and then inching back up. I’m right where you are now weight wise too and I’m trying to have a good body image as well. I also feel like I crossed that line of exercising just to do it and then it becoming something else. I pretty much exercise everyday, but like you say, it ALWAYS takes effort (sometimes lots of it). I’m always glad I did it in the end though.

  7. #8
    Cathy S

    I started changing my lifestyle back in June 2011, after over a year reading about your efforts. I am lucky to be a member of a fabulous YMCA that offered a 10 week “Summer Slimdown” fitness & nutrition program. I’ve lost 25 pounds since then without dieting, just being more aware of how I eat. Most importantly, I’ve found exercise that I love, some of which I never envisioned myself doing. Through my yoga teacher, I discovered Budokon, a mix of yoga and martial arts. I’m working on handstands and roundhouse kicks, of all things. This from a total bookworm who hates to sweat. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize myself. I’ve gone from thinking as I read your blog, “That’s great for you, but not me,” to “mmm-hmms” of agreement. Keep keeping us posted. I think all of us find something of ourselves in your words.

  8. #9

    Hey Gina, you know what I might recommend to you? Check out Nutritional Weight and Wellness podcast/radio show (available streaming online or through iTunes) called Dishing Up Nutrition. They have every topic under the sun but they focused on what they call Balanced Nutrition. Now Ive been a WW devotee at times in my life but I have never been able to sustain that approach. It always leads me to a big old binge session, every time. But it has helped me to drop weight. But NWW has a lot ideas that might seem a bit revolutionary as to what we have all been taught about how to lose weight (move more and eat less and bingo!). You know, I changed the whole focus last year from move more and eat less to eat WELL when i started to learn more about balanced nutrition, and eating real foods and real proteins and moving away from processed diet crap. I embrace your whine! : ) But serious, check out the radio show. SO many topics. It has changed the way i approach this whole process.

  9. #11

    Cyn, its funny… my whole issue now is food too. Im begrudgingly learning that it is likely that what I am eating has more effect on my body and weight that all this damned cardio Im doing. : ) Sigh. Its always something to be tinkered with.

  10. #12

    Cathy, your story is VERY inspiring! I mean, just the whole idea that you can eat better and still lose weight AND you have to find a way to move that works for you. Good on you!

  11. #14
    Heather H.

    You are right Cathy, it always takes work. I started running again last fall and my “goal” for 2012 is to get some exercise every single day. So far so good. Running, biking, body pump at the Y at 5:30am. But as you stated the effects are more than physical or weight loss. I love the after workout feeling of being satisfied with what I’ve done for myself and my own body. And some mornings I’m daunted that I have to do it again. But it’s so worth it.

  12. #15
    Leanne in CA

    You look awesome!! Fit and healthy and definitely strong. Nice work, keep it up. Have a fabulous weekend!

  13. #16

    listen i’m going to say it again…you inspired me. and i am 141 pounds now and 5’8″ tall. been holding steady since april. i eat a little less and move a ton more. running 2-3 miles 3x a week and walking all 7 days 2 miles. i think you look great. i hope i look that good!

  14. #19

    I love my Fitbit. glad it is pushing your forward. The site is really good and there are some supportive groups on there.

  15. #20
    Chris H.

    I could have written that post Cathy..

    I’m amazed at how good I feel. 2011 it all really clicked for me mentally. I pushed myself hard this year, even taking most of summer off to Eat More and Move Less…but I also don’t take myself too seriously. If I eat, say, a cheeseburger, I just push it off and start better the next meal.

    I got back on track in the fall and doing better than ever.

    I’m nowhere near the 150s you speak of…but I’m down 30 pounds from my all time high in 2009, 15 of that since September. I don’t know if I ever will be 150s but it’s about the journey. Maybe this is as far as the scale goes for me, maybe not but I couldn’t care less anymore because I feel GREAT.

  16. #21

    I finally took the plunge on Jan. 31 and joined the MMEW class and really have found it motivational-thank you. I tried last year, but just couldn’t make myself play along-oh I work out regularly like 5-6 days a week, but didn’t eat too well. I will not be joining in the chat tomorrow morning as I will be working out, had to make a choice and decided that I will read the transcript and try to get closer to getting a quarter to bounce off my tushy.
    Thanks again for offering this class.

  17. #23

    I’ve been following your progess on this since you started and it’s been inspiring to see you shrink and the honesty in which you deal with the downside of denial and no change. This year I’m going to make changes in my life that become my life, so regular exercise, portion control and reduce snacking. I’ve signed up for a charity mile at the end of the month and today I take my first photo – with no breathing in!

  18. #24
    Julie G

    Just signed up for your class yesterday. 🙂 I have gained just a little back of what I lost a year and a half ago, and I want it to stop. That means I need to make some changes! Thanks so much for the inspiration.

  19. #26

    Hey Julie! Welcome! Make sure you read the thread on Messages from Cathy If youre just joining the class… and then join us for the chat!

  20. #27
    Dorothy F

    Thank you for this information. I have been looking for something like this. Just ordered my FitBit! Loving Move More, Eat Less too – you just keep motivating me. Thank you.

  21. #28

    I was ready for the New Year, because I signed up for the MMEW class, and … then life happened and I never “came to class.” Now here I am, determined not to let another month (or day!) slip by without some work toward my goal of a lighter me that fits better into my clothes. I’ve got two days of treadmill work done, and that’s a great feeling. Thanks for letting us just jump in where we are!

    I’ll be checking into the class threads and videos. Support is a wonderful thing!

  22. #29
    Barb in AK

    Thanks, Cathy! I needed that update. I’ve ALWAYS hated to move, and hearing “it’s work!” was right on– even when I was a kid living on a farm, I HATED work! I was a rail while growing up— could eat anything I wanted (and I really didn’t want much), then I hit 30. **Sigh**
    I just had my annual yesterday. My dr. gave me VERY STRONG warnings about getting off my rear end. :-
    So out in the 24° light snow weather to walk two laps around my village = 0.60 ml. I’m working at it! I’m working at it!
    Btw, your arms look AMAZING!!

  23. #30
    Carolyn z

    Hi there. I think it’s most important to be physically fit and not ficus on fitting into a specific size. Although it does matter how we look ( I totally care about my appearance). But I think you do look good and more importantly you are healthy. The focus should not be your size but your lifestyle and overall appearance. You look terrific. I am a size 2 and do not eat well and never excursive. 3 young kids and a demanding work schedule combined with a 2.3 hour round trip commute means I have no time for anything. I would gladly prefer to be a healthy excercizing size 4 than an unhealthy size 2 heart attack waiting to happen. I think you get it but I also think you get blinded by the size thing and your not being fair to yourself. you look great you are super healthy and you do get to enjoy your meals. on the flip side you could deprive youself of the pleasure of balanced meals, starve yourself and whittle yourself down to a size 8. But then you won’t be healthy and I’m sure you’d like to be around for grandiose.

  24. #32
    Kristin wyowoman

    My conundrum? I am totally into the increased energy and health I have from exercise and running… but WTH is up with bigger muscles just emphasizing the cellulite! like pushing it to surface! I kid you not. gah. LOL

  25. #33

    LOOK AT YOUR LEGS IN THAT PHOTO!!!! Seriously woman, your muscles are showing. I belive maintenance mode is harder than actual weight loss mode. There are tons of books written on how to eat, how to lose wt, how to exercise, support groups, I mean…we know how to do that. But there isn’t as much info and support for how to maintain weight loss. Anyway, I think you’re awesome and you look fantastic!

  26. #34
    Heather K

    Hi Cathy – this update is really real. I like that. I’ve been so unhappy with pedometers I’ve gotten. They are incredibly inaccurate – and I’m still really at the walking for exercise stage rather than running so I need some motivating feedback. And when my pedometer says I’ve walked 0.3 miles after walking a ton – well that’s just about as unmotivating as it gets. I’ve seen the FitBit but haven’t gone for it because of the price and fear of being disappointed. Can you comment (or later in a future blog post) on your opinions of its accuracy and how you like it overall?

  27. #35

    So far, it seems like a good product. At first, I was pretty sure it was being way too generous with my step count. So I emailed them and requested a return form. They said they would send me a new one, no questions asked. Then i figured id give it a week and I realized on the days I dont run, that my step count is SUPER low. Which made me think, Okay, this makes sense. So after 6 to 8 weeks of using it, i think its better than any pedometer Ive ever had, and if youre not happy with it, they will return or replace it. : )

    That has been my experience thus far.

  28. #36

    Hey Cathy…
    Thanks for your honesty. I’ve read you blog for years and never commented, but just had to let you know something. I saw a brief mention in a post of yours a while back about reading “Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism.” I researched it a bit and bought the book. Maria (and you!) have completely changed my life. I’m definitely eating well, moving more and most importantly feeling fantastic! I still have about 20lbs to go, but it will come. There is no doubt. Hang in there, if it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s a lifestyle now!

  29. #37

    Kate, isnt Maria amazing? I actually just put another one of her books in my cart at Amazon this morning. If you like her, you should also listen to the Dishing Up Nutrition podcasts from Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Much of the same good type of info on eating for metabolism function, eating healthy in balance. etc. Check it out:

  30. #38
    Gypsy Chaos

    Hey Gina –
    Is “Hi Sloth” a positive message? No.
    May I suggest that you change your greeting to something more positive?

    Each time you see “Hi Sloth”, the evil part of your brain nods in agreement, chuckling – “hey, lady, you don’t believe in yourself, you so aren’t going to Move More; you’re sabotaging your efforts!”

    The littlest things can make big differences.

  31. #39
    Beth Rang

    Hi Cathy! I’m one of your former students (the encyclopedia class at CKU the first time you did it), and live not too far away from you. I’ve got 100 pounds of chub to take off, and was wondering: did having the treadmill at home cause your electric bills to take a huge leap? I just got the blue Fitbit two weeks ago, and am very happy with it.


  32. #40

    Beth, not that I have noticed. We use a budget type of plan from Excel, I believe, just so we pay the same every month. But no. My computer takes a zillion more to run than the treadmill!

  33. #41

    I haven’t done anything this year. You see, my now ex-boyfriend who I was living with and have been together for 16 1/2 years has left me 2 weeks ago. But I have been losing weight, because I’m barely eating from all the stress and heartbreak. :-((

  34. #43

    Hey Cathy – Great post (as always). I am actually IN your class but never made it past January. I could not even get myself to open the February stuff. It has been a disappointing start to the year fitness-wise…. and, like you, I guess I sort of thought there was a point where this just became… easier I guess. I got down to 135 last April and am teetering at 150 now…. and it just makes me feel sad and sort of tired. Anyway, glad I came to check the blog cause just maybe I will open the class stuff for March. I did a workout called Warrior of Fitness last night at this guys house…. it was insane…. moving tires, climbing ropes in trees, jumping to bars hanging from a garage ceiling… it was sooooooo hard, but I felt great today (minus my theighs burning). Like you, I love the way working out feels… BUT I WANT IT TO MAKE ME THIN EVENTUALLY. There, I said it. I mean, I am tired of this being this hard. Simply tired of it. But, I will still get up and run tomorrow. Ugh. 🙁
    Kristi (Cropper Hopper)

  35. #44

    Kristi, you can jump in ANY time. I know that you are very committed to your health and fitness. I tell you. Its always a challenge. Always! : ) Ill be running today myself!

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